Program: ENGR Exchange: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain)
Term: Spring 2017
Studying abroad was such an amazing experience! I was taken out of my comfort zone and had to create a new idea of what was considered normal and familiar. It gave me the opportunity to experience new cultures and gain a greater understanding of them. I got the chance to work and live with students from around the world.
Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: Engineering students often think it is impossible to go abroad because of their tight schedules. However, all engineering students can go abroad, and there are program options for every type of engineering! With a little planning in advance, it is possible to go abroad for a semester or even a year.
It was amazing to see famous sights from all around Europe that I had heard about my whole life, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sagrada Familia, Big Ben etc. I also loved going to the local food and flea markets. It seemed like every European country had some sort of weekend food market, and the food was always amazing! I got to try exotic cuisines and talk to the locals. The owners of each stand within the markets were excited to talk and share their culture with us!
Adjusting to a completely different culture was a challenge. The food in grocery stores and at restaurants was different, eating times were much later than I was used to, and the classes had different teaching styles. I had to make quick adjustments to the lifestyle I was used to back in the United States. Additionally, I did not speak Spanish, so I had to teach myself some Spanish in order to get by living in Span. I also had to balance studying for classes and planning trips to different European countries. I was eager to explore Europe, but I also had to balance time with classes.
Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: Studying abroad can be affordable and even cheaper than studying at UMD. There are many scholarship opportunities available to students to make studying abroad affordable. Additionally, living in a different city can be less expensive than living in College Park. My rent in Madrid was much less than what I paid in College Park, and the cost of food and transportation was so cheap!